Monday, August 15, 2016

A Quilt Showing and A New Project...

Quote for the Day:
"In this world, there's always going to be people who are better then you, so stop comparing yourself to others, and just be the best you."
~author unknown

Our local quilt group, the Millennium Quilters, held their quilt show.  I had never entered any of my quilts in a show before because:  1)  I give away almost all of my quilts so never have one here to enter;  and 2)  I don't think my work is "show-worthy".  

I wasn't going to enter one this year because the only quilt that I have of the six I made last year was the one I sent out to be long-armed and there isn't enough quilting on the borders, and knew I'd get dinged for that.  The rest of the quilt is beautifully quilted, but there just wasn't enough quilting done in the borders.  :(  I should have added more quilting there myself before I added the binding, but didn't...and if I try to add some now, it will all just pucker because of the binding being on already.  

Then about 2 weeks ago, I was laying on the decompression table at the chiropractor's office and saw the "Mr. Chillingsworth" quilt hanging on the wall...the one that I had gifted to him last year...

I asked to borrow it for the show and entered it.  The show was this past weekend and here is it hanging in the show...

Well...would you look at that???  It got "Honorable Mention" in it's class!!!  Wow!!!  Cool!!!

So...yeah...I'll be entering more quilts in future shows!  LOL

I have started on a new project...
I save the selvages off of the edge of my fabric (for those "non-quilters" out there...the selvage is what they put on the edge of the fabric to hold it onto the printing machines in the making of the fabric.  The make-up is denser and has printing on it, so you don't want to put it into your quilt.  However, many people save them and make them into a separate quilt...aptly named "selvage quilts"!)

This is what my selvage basket looked like...time to use them up!!!

I am making these star blocks using up some leftover 2.5" HST's from other projects as well as some new ones made with my new Accuquilt GO...all made from my scraps!!!   The selvages are foundation-pieced to used dryer sheets...which I press lightly with a cool iron, then cut down to 4.5" using my Accuquilt GO.  (I use my dryer sheets 2-3 times in the dryer before using them in a quilt to make sure there are no more oils or softener on them.  Once the softener is gone from them, they are merely a lightweight piece of non-woven material...similar to very lightweight interfacing.  I keep an empty tissue box on the dryer to put the used dryer sheets in when I pull clothes from the dryer.)

These blocks are so much fun to make and go rather quickly because there is no sewing/flipping/pressing like with other blocks.  Here is the tutorial I used:  I use all the selvages...not just the ones with writing.  Here is a YouTube video showing how to make a selvage block, too, for those of you who like to actually see them being made:  

This is what the creative mess process looks like in my sewing room...

Hope this gives you some ideas of what to do with that fabric that you've been cutting off and not using.


Friday, August 5, 2016

Where Have You Been All My Quilting Life???....

Quote for the Day:
“Be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The roads of life 
are paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.”
~ Unknown

My dad used to say "the roof only needs fixed when it's raining."  The meaning was that sometimes we only learn that we need things WHEN we need them.  That's how it has been with my difficulty with cutting out quilt pieces.  I average about 5-6 quilts a year...and the actual "cutting" part is only a portion of the quilting there are only a few times a year that I remember that I need help...and that is with the cutting part.  

With my neck and back issues (arthritis, stenosis, and herniated discs), I have difficulty cutting using a rotary cutter.  I even bought the Martelli rotary cutter that was supposed to be easier to use.  (I found that I don't care for it that much...out of all of my rotary cutters that I have tried, I actually prefer my "Splash" Olfa rotary cutter.)

Every time I have to cut pieces for a quilt I wish that I had a fabric cutter.  In fact, I *almost* purchased an Accuquilt GO last December when they went on sale for Christmas.  But, alas, I wasn't cutting out a quilt so I didn't *need* one.  Are you seeing the thinking here?  I only realize I *need* one when I'm cutting out a quilt...and each time, when I am done cutting, I think "see...I really don't need one...I can do it just fine."  But really I can't.  :(  

At my last massage session my massage therapist was appalled at the issues I had from my right neck down to my right thumb...all from having cut out the Christmas Stars quilt.  :(

So that was was TIME to splurge and purchase something that I needed to make it possible to continue quilting.  And to my very pleasant surpise...the price had dropped $100 from the previous price!!!  (The usual price was $349, but would go on sale in December for $300.  The new low price is $249!!!)

I set it up yesterday and tried it out using some scrap fabric like they suggest.  Within MINUTES I had cut 36 HST's (half-square triangle pieces) and sewed them together!!!

I did some "test" sewing on the first 3 sets to find my exact needle position for the new pieces...since they are cut perfectly each time, they are all the exact same I had to find out where the perfect needle position was for them...

I even took some of the "corners" that I had saved when cutting off of previous quilt blocks and ran them through the Accuquilt.  I was able to resize them to exactly the size I needed!  How easy was that???  No more measuring, flipping/rotating rulers, etc., that is involved in cutting out pieces!!!

Like I said, within mere minutes I had turned a pile of scraps into 2.5" HST's!!!    :)  

Of course, now I wish that I had invested in this sooooooooooo much sooner!!!  

And now...onto other news...

The roof got replaced about a month ago from the hail damage we had in April.  The 4 windows we were getting replaced got done about 10 days ago.  And today they started replacing the siding...


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Christmas Stars...

Quote for the Day:
“Christmas doesn't come from a store, 
maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more....” 
~ Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

A little birdie told me last year that she'd like a Christmas quilt, so for the past month or so, I've been working on a Christmas quilt that I designed myself in EQ7.  I am happy to announce that the last of the three borders are now on the quilt and it is ready to be sandwiched and quilted.  It ended up 100" x 100"!  Whew!'s gonna be FUN trying to quilt it on my little domestic sewing machine!   :(

So here's pics of the scrappy "Christmas Stars" quilt top...

Even the THREE borders are scrappy!!!

I need to either purchase a king-sized batting for it or piece one from the batting pieces I have on hand.  I also need to piece together a backing for it.  THEN I will get it sandwiched and start the quilting on it.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

My Current Quilt Projects...

All of the Christmas fabrics start showing up in quilt stores in July.  There's a reason for this!  If you're gonna get a quilt made in time for Christmas, you've gotta start EARLY!!!

I actually started this wall hanging quilt about 3 years the beginning of December...not a good idea!  LOL  It was a panel that I saw on display at the LQS and I had to have it!  I started out handquilting it in my small, portable Q-Snap frame...taking it to guild meetings, etc., and working on it there.   It wasn't getting done very fast, after I finished the Baskets quilt that was in my floor frame, I decided to put this one in the floor frame and finish it.  It is getting done a lot quicker now and will be ready to hang this Christmas season!

My current piecing project is also a Christmas quilt...this time a queen-sized quilt.  Last Christmas my daughter-in-law said she'd like a Christmas quilt, so I designed one in EQ7 for her...

It's coming along nicely!  All of the green/white blocks are pieced and squared up.  I'm currently piecing the star blocks and am about 1/3rd of the way done with them.  

When we were in Tennessee in June, we went to the Mt. Juliet Farmisan Market because our daughter had a booth there selling her glass bird feeders.   Across from her booth Crittenden Custom Creations had a booth set up and I went over to investigate.   Bill Crittenden makes hand-turned pens so I asked him if he had ever made any seam rippers.  He acknowledged that he had never done one before but was anxious to make one and took my order.  I received it about a week ago and am sooooooo impressed with it!  It is beautiful!!!

The handle is carved from a rectangled block of dyed plywood!  It is double-ended.  You pull out the metal end, turn it around and push the rounded piece back into the hole in the end to get this...

The end on the left is bigger...more for coarse cloth like denim or canvas.  The end on the right is finer and more for lightweight fabrics, like quilter's cotton.  I love the feel of it in my is very well a nice writing instrument.  I haven't had any seams that needed ripped out since receiving it, but I'm sure that will all come to a screeching halt when I start joining my blocks on the Christmas quilt!  (Joining the blocks to make a top is ALWAYS where I make my mistakes!!!)  


Another Trip to Tennessee...

Quote for the Day:
"Never go on trips with anyone you do not love."
~Ernest Hemingway

In June we took ANOTHER trip back to Tennessee to our daughter's to celebrate our grandson, Clark's, 2nd birthday.  (Whew...4 trips in 5 months makes one exhausted!)  
Clark and Sera...

The party was held at a pavilion at the local park and it was HOTTER THAN HADES that day!  The kids were able cool off at the park's "Splash Pad"...

The next day we all took a jaunt up to the bridge where Erin and Dale got married in September.  There was a boat race that day so we got to watch it from the bridge for a few minutes.

Andy HATES having his picture taken, so he will do anything to keep from looking at the camera or smiling...


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Alex's New Quilt...

When the grandkids turn three years old I make them a twin-sized quilt for their "big" bed.  Since Alex is turning three this July, his mom asked that I make another "jar" quilt for his bed since he and Andrew now share a room and have bunk beds.  (I made this "bug jar" quilt for Andrew's third birthday.)

Instead of a strictly "bug" jars, I decided to do more of an "eye spy" type of quilt but put them in "jars".  Unfortunately, I don't have any up close pictures of the "jars", but there were things like tires, animals, umbrellas, candy, monkeys, fish, etc., ....and yes, bugs, too!  

The pieced back...(looks like there is an "orb" on the right side of the quilt because there was nothing on the quilt itself)...

The label...

I hate to mail quilts because I'm always afraid that they will get lost, so as much as possible, I hand-deliver them.  Since we won't be there for his birthday this year, we took it down with us when we went on vacation.

He immediately wanted to go down and put it on his bed!!!   I think he likes it!!!  

Here is a comparison of the two quilts side-by-side.  The brown "shelf" fabric, the black background, and the blue border were different but very similar since the fabric was purchased 5 years apart!

On the Home Front...

I love to garden, but have to used raised beds or do container gardening because of my back and knee.  Last years container garden was a bust and I only have one raised bed that I use to grow green beans in.  Toward the end of the summer last year I saw an ad for the Garden Tower2 and was extremely interested but decided to revisit the idea this year since the gardening season was over by that time last year.  I ordered one this Spring and it came a couple of days before we left on vacation.  This is what it looked like when I planted it before we left on vacation..some plants, some seeds...

And this is what it looked like 2.5 weeks later!!!  Everything is so green and lush and growing so well!!


Georgia Vacation...

We just got back from a vacation to our son's family in Georgia!  We were there for Andrew's 8th birthday! time has FLOWN!  

On Saturday mornings he has riding therapy...

For the most part now, he guides the horse without the therapist using the lead!

And this is the little guy, Alex.  He will be 3 this July!  He is all active...and loves to be outdoors!

This video should make your day!!!  It is Alex, Grandpa, and Ginger playing in the back yard.  I just LOVE Alex's giggle!!!

While in Georgia, my daughter-in-law and I went to Goodwill...after all, what is a family visit without a trip to the local Goodwill, anyway???  ;)    I found this 100% cotton fabric...5 - 3 yard pieces of the light blue with pink flowers (total 15 yards!!!) and 1 yard of the veggie fabric...All for less than $9.00!!!!  SCORE!!!